'Harambee Boys' hit back

The Swapo youth league secretary has threatened to suspend and expel all SPYL members who insult the current government and party leadership.

17 May 2018 | Politics

Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) secretary Ephraim Nekongo has hit back at critics who claim the wing is dormant and has become a mere lapdog of the mother party.

He denied this, saying they are using a “talk less and work more” approach and were not, in the words of their detractors, the “Harambee Boys”.

However, in the same breath he threatened to suspend and expel all SPYL members who insult the current government and party leadership.

Nekongo made these remarks in Oshakati on Tuesday during a regional visit to Oshana, where he said insulting and discrediting party and government leaders on social media is not ethical and should be condemned.

He seemingly made this in direct reference to the former crop of SPYL leaders that included Elijah Ngurare, Job Amupanda and many others, who have been at the forefront of a sustained campaign against President Hage Geingob and his administration since the outcome of the 2012 Swapo elective congress.

With Amupanda as its spokesperson and Ngurare as its secretary, SPYL became known as fearless attack dogs, when it came to issues involving the youth, but were also painted as anti-Geingob and factionalist.

Nekongo said the current SPYL leadership focuses less on entertaining their critics, whom he said occasionally attack them on different platforms, especially social media, by calling them the 'Harambee Boys'.

He said although they can respond negatively, they instead focus on working hard on issues like nation-building, without necessarily seeking fame.

“People are saying we are quiet because we are not insulting the president. We are doing our work but we are not putting it out there. If people are out there expecting us to insult our leaders, we won't do that. That is not leadership,” Nekongo said.

He said there are those that are trying by all means to destabilise the current government under Geingob's leadership.

He attributed the recent attacks on Geingob's administration to the outcome of the 2017 Swapo elective congress.

Last November's congress saw Geingob's 'Team Harambee' winning a landslide victory over another faction calling itself 'Team Swapo', which was largely led by, among others, Jerry Ekandjo, Nahas Angula, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana and Armas Amukwiyu.

Nekongo said the people who are trying to destabilise the government are the ones who were not happy with the congress outcome, where Geingob was overwhelmingly elected as Swapo president.

Nekongo said the factionalism within Swapo had also played out over the weekend at Founding President Sam Nujoma's 89th birthday celebration, which was held at Etunda village in the Omusati Region.

“This congress hangover must come to an end. This thing of Team Harambee and Team Swapo is a serious problem. I was really not impressed with the founding president's birthday celebrations, where Sam Nujoma was talking about unity in his speech but people there were doing otherwise,” Nekongo said.

He also lashed out at social media politics, which he described as a waste of time, saying issues within Swapo or government will not be solved by insulting of leaders on Facebook.

“In the Swapo Party we have structures to deal with issues and not Facebook.

We must take an engaging approach, where we consult our leaders. Some of these wars people are fighting are not theirs.

We were not in exile and we don't know what who did to each other. We the youth must focus on unity and making Namibia great,” Nekongo said.

He said at the SPYL congress, which also took place last year, there was resolution on a code of conduct that will be used to discipline members.

Nekongo said drastic measures such as suspension and expulsion will be taken against offenders, especially those insulting the country's leaders.

He also used the opportunity to engage party members on issues that affect the economy and encouraged youth to venture into business and agriculture.

The issue of the lack of SPYL leadership at Uuvudhiya constituency was also discussed and Nekongo said plans are in place to address the situation amicably.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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